Friday, March 16, 2007
Cool New Music
I haven't been writing about music here much lately, most likely because I've been busy writing about it for print publications. But there are a few new CDs that have caught my ear, some of which I hope to soon be writing about for trad media.
Nathan, Key Principles
This band's 2004 CD Jimson Weed was one of my favorite recordings that year. And if this one doesn't knock me out quite so much, it's probably because I know what to expect (or hope for). Primary singer and songwriter Keri Latimer (previously McTige) is one of my favorite lyricists. I noticed many reviews of Jimson Weed described the music as "creepy" but unless that word has come to mean "inventive, funny, and poignant" I'd have to disagree.
Oisin McAuley, Far from the Hills of Donegal
There are a lot of great Irish fiddlers around, but how many of them can improvise? OK there are also a bunch of young hotshots in the US who can do anything, but how many Irish fiddlers can improvise and make it sound totally traditional while groovin' like a mofo? As far as I can tell, just one--Oisin McAuley. He also manages to imitate the Irish pipes' sliding and wailing to a greater degree than anyone I've heard.
Devon Sproule, Keep Your Silver Shined
Another great young songwriter and guitarist (and singer). What I like most about Devon is how she's internalized the jazz and swing music that color her songs. Instead of trying to write a "jazz standard" or simply imitate swing music, she uses jazz's harmonic and rhythmic signatures as part of the music she draws on to construct her songs.
Adam Rogers, Time and the Infinite
I don't have much use for anything approaching mainstream jazz guitar these days. The music has become so cliched, and the harmonic approach (ii-V-I's till the cows come home) bores me. Adam Rogers' first trio record is a little more mainstream than his last few, which featured Chris Potter's saxophone and Edward Simon's piano. While he plays a few standards here, he also explores some modern semi-classical harmonic ideas, and his single-note soloing continues to be some of the most inventive and fluid around.